IRL: Team Penske pit notes 2003-6-18

De Ferran earns third top-three finish of the season at Pikes Peak - moves into third in points Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran earned his second consecutive top-three finish at Pikes Peak International Raceway and his third of...

De Ferran earns third top-three finish of the season at Pikes Peak - moves into third in points

Marlboro Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran earned his second consecutive top-three finish at Pikes Peak International Raceway and his third of the 2003 IndyCar® Series season this past weekend as he brought the #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota home in third place at the Honda Indy 225.

The Team started the day in search of its second consecutive 1-2 finish (de Ferran won the event last year and teammate Helio Castroneves finished second) with Castroneves taking the lead on lap 2 after starting second. He would lead for 46 laps before de Ferran got past him on lap 47. De Ferran led the race for the next 28 laps until the #10 car (Scheckter) was able to get to the head of the pack. De Ferran regained the lead on lap 99 and maintained it until the #9 car (Dixon) took over on lap 142 and led the remaining 83 laps on his way to capturing the checkered flag.

De Ferran would go on to finish the race in third after making a key pass on the #27 car (Franchitti) in the closing laps of the race. More importantly, his finish earned 35 points for the 2003 Indy 500 winner and moved him into a tie for third place in the point standings with Castroneves (who finished the race in 12th) and Al Unser Jr., despite missing the race in Japan due to an injury sustained in Phoenix.

MARLBORO TEAM PENSKE SEASON REPORT

With just over a third of the 2003 season concluded, Marlboro Team Penske has been producing solid results in their search for the Team's first IndyCar Series Championship. Following is a look at what Marlboro Team Penske has accomplished in the first six races:

Penske Racing's record 13th Indianapolis 500 victory

Penske Racing's record 12th Indianapolis 500 pole

Six top-three finishes and eight top-ten finishes

De Ferran and Castroneves are currently tied with Al Unser Jr. for third place in the 2003 Championship point standings with 167 points, 50 points out of first place

Marlboro Team Penske drivers have led laps in four different races a total of 11 times for 305 laps out of the 1225 laps run to date (25%)

Six top-five starts including one pole

DE FERRAN NOMINATED FOR DRIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD FOR 2ND QUARTER

2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran has been nominated for the Driver of the Year Award in the 2nd Quarter. The Driver of the Year voting is determined by a panel of 18 journalists who select nominees four times throughout the season from IRL, NASCAR, Champ Car, NHRA, SCCA, World of Outlaws and Sports Cars. Driver's achievements are evaluated according to on track performance, sportsmanship, humanitarianism and fan recognition. De Ferran was nominated based on his win at the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 this past May. De Ferran raced at Indy shortly after recovering from two broken vertebrae and a concussion which sidelined him earlier in the year and forced him to miss the race in Japan. In addition, he competed in a car that he had only tested for the first time earlier that month.

De Ferran is one of eight nominees in the second quarter, others include CART driver Sebastien Bourdais, NHRA points leader Larry Dixon, NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth, NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt Jr., and USAC driver J.J. Yeley.

In addition to the 18-member journalist panel, fans will be able to vote at Speedtv.com. The top six vote-getters from Speedtv.com will be included on a final ballot along with the top six votes from the media panel. The winner will then be determined from a final vote by the panel.

DE FERRAN NOMINATED FOR BEST DRIVER AT 11TH ANNUAL ESPY AWARDS

In addition to being nominated for the Driver of the Year Award in the 2nd Quarter, Gil de Ferran has also been nominated for an ESPY in the "Best Driver" category. The ESPY Awards, being held at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 16th, bring together the sports world to celebrate the top achievements, relive memorable moments and salute the best performers and performances of the year.

Other nominees in the "Best Driver" category include NHRA star John Force, two-time IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr., Formula 1 Champion Michael Schumacher and NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart. New to the Awards this year is an on-line voting component. From June 13-30 fans will be able to log on to ESPN.com to vote for who they feel should win each ESPY.

DIXON WINS MARLBORO LAP LEADER AWARD

Target Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon led the most laps at last weekend's Honda Indy 225 by leading the race two times for a total of 89 laps. In addition to the two extra points he receives in the IndyCar Series point standings, Dixon will receive $7,500 as the winner of the Marlboro Lap Leader Award. He will be presented with his prize money during the pre-race ceremonies for next week's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.

There was not a winner in the media contest, as no journalist selected Dixon as their guess for the lap leader in the race.

2003 IRL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS

Driver Name     Points

Tony Kanaan 217
Scott Dixon 168
Gil de Ferran 167
Helio Castroneves 167
Al Unser Jr. 167
Kenny Brack 161
Scott Sharp 149
Tomas Scheckter 125
Felipe Giaffone 123
Sam Hornish Jr. 122

For more information or to schedule an interview, please call Susan Bradshaw Crowther at 917-881-7350 or Jeremy Riffle at 310-274-7800.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Tomas Scheckter , Michael Schumacher , Larry Dixon , John Force , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Jimmie Johnson , Sébastien Bourdais , J.J. Yeley , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske